MEMPHIS, Tenn. —  After a little over a week on the job, Doug McGowan’s leadership will face a challenge from Mother Nature as temperatures across the Mid-South will fall below freezing later this week.

McGowen, MLGW’s new president and CEO, says the company’s storm team is prepared and making sure systems are ready to withstand the cold temperatures.

Watch the full Live at 9 interview in the window above.

He said not only will Thursday’s arctic blast possibly affect water infrastructure but homeowners should be aware that it may also bring gusty winds that can cause downed trees on power lines.

“We could expect some intermittent interruptions, so our crews will be on alert and ready to respond to both electrical and water outages,” McGowen said.

He said his number one priority as president is to improve the reliability of MLGW’s electrical infrastructure. He admitted that an aging electrical infrastructure combined with tree limbs on powerlines don’t mix, but he said he has a plan.    

“So, we have a five-year plan. My priority is to accelerate that plan because people can’t wait five years before the electrical reliability comes online. We’re going to step that up. We’re going to do more tree trimming and get some of that infrastructure in place much more quickly,” McGowen said.

MLGW provided some tips on how to prepare your home for cold weather including:

  • Seal drafty spaces behind light switches and outlet plates with foam gaskets (turn off electricity before installing)
  • Wrap R-7 insulation around heating ducts in attics and other unheated spaces.
  • Remove window-unit air conditioners and seal cracks with duct tape to prevent drafts.
  • Install a threshold and weatherstripping on exterior doors if you can see light around a closed door
  • Install storm windows or 6-mil polyethylene plastic over windows to block out the cold.

McGowen also added that the company has been working on providing better customer service to its users.

“We haven’t been doing our job with customer service with answering the calls if something does go wrong. Over the last two years because of COVID and some staffing issues, our call times to resolve issues have been way too high, but that is something that we’re working on,” he said.

MLGW customers can call the Customer Care Center at 901 544-6549 if they are aware of trees interfering with a power line.